By Stephen J. Kotz
While East Hampton Town has created a great deal of buzz with its ambitious plan to provide all the community’s energy needs through sustainable methods by the year 2020, Southampton Town is taking a much quieter approach.
According to Deputy Supervisor Frank Zappone, within the new few weeks, the town is preparing to issue a request for proposals to vendors asking them to analyze town-owned facilities and property to see if it will be feasible to use them for sustainable energy projects, like solar farms.
Unlike East Hampton Town, “Southampton does not have expanses of land like the airport that are relatively free of limitations,” said Mr. Zappone, citing restrictions imposed on Community Preservation Fund purchases and other factors.
While the capped North Sea landfill off Majors Path has also been named as a potential site for something like a solar array, Mr. Zappone said such a project would have be vetted first by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, which would determine whether development would pose a risk to the landfill cap, among other things.
Christine Fetten, the town’s director of municipal works, is the point person for the town’s efforts to find suitable sites for sustainable energy projects. She did not reply to a request for an interview.
Dieter von Lehsten, co-chairman of the town’s sustainability committee, said this week that Southampton officials are wary of promising too much and delivering too little.
East Hampton, on the other hand, is shooting for the stars with its own ambitious plans, with the result that it might very well fall short of its goal, he said. Not that Mr. von Lehsten thinks that is a bad thing: “They are taking the Greenpeace approach, which is to ask for 150 percent and be happy with 25 percent,” he said.
Mr. von Lehsten said that the sustainability committee is excited that the town is preparing the RFP.
“We are all behind this, of course,” he said. “We are helping push things along. It is on the regular agenda.”